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Re: You can't get a copy unless you accept the GPL [was: Re: libkrb53 - odd license term]

> Scripsit Raul Miller <moth@debian.org>
> > Except, the copy is being made on the server.

On Fri, Jun 04, 2004 at 01:27:00AM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> When I download something, the copy is being made on a hard disk that
> sits in a box below my desk. Current is being modulated and passed
> through a coil, which causes an area of the disk surface to be made
> into a copy of the work.

Fundamentally, the way computers work, is by making copies of everything
they're working on.  There's a copy on disk, it gets copied into the
hard disk controller, then into memory, then into L2 cache and L1 cache
through the cpu, resulting in more copies being made in the ethernet
controller, then out onto the network.  Many other copies are made
(at least one at each router) before it finally winds up on the user's
machine where a similar process results in a copy being made on disk.
This is all really fundamental and basic.

But the thing is, almost all those copies are transient -- they're
destroyed shortly after they're made.  From a non-technical point of
view, the concept of "transmission" is more relevant than the concept of
"copying".  It's only at server where there's an original which lasts
from before the copying started till after it's concluded.  The server
makes another copy by transmitting it to the client machine.

> But that is actually irrelevant. The relevant part is that no matter
> where you consider the copy to be "made", *I* am the one who is
> causing the computers (my own and the server) to make a copy at that
> particular time and place.

You're neglecting the person running the server -- if they want to stop
you from making a copy, they're free to do so.

In essence, putting something up on a publically reachable server is
an act of distribution.  If this were not the case, everybody on the
internet would be violating copyright every time they downloaded a page
which doesn't have an appropriate grant of copyright on it.

If I accepted your logic, I'd think that people listening to the radio
or watching TV are liable for copyright violation, and that the people
transmitting that content are uninvolved in making these copies.

> When I knowingly cause machines to make a copy for me, I am doing the
> exact thing that copyright regulates.

Are you suggesting that copyright law is preventing you from making a
copy of nothing?

You don't have a copy until after you've received it.


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